Sen. Ted Cruz Talks Syria, Health Care and Re-Election Campaign

While Congress is in recess for two weeks, Sen. Ted Cruz is back in Texas. He is on a two-week listening tour, meeting with constituents throughout the state.

On Tuesday he toured the Peterbilt plant in Denton for several hours, and he sat down for a one-on-one interview with NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine.

"It is great to be home," Cruz said.

Cruz talked about the airstrikes in Syria and says the United States needs a strategic plan going forward.

"We are trapped between impossible options. On one hand, Bashar al-Assad is a monster. He has repeatedly used chemical weapons against his own citizens, against innocent men women and children. He is a bad, bad guy. But on the other hand, the opposition – many of the rebels fighting against him – are radical Islamic terrorists. They are people like al-Qaida, al-Nusra terrorists. They are even worse. They hate America and want to kill Americans," Cruz said.

"So all of us our prayers are with the Syrian people, the victims of Bashar al-Assad, the victims of the terrorists. But I think the central lodestar for any U.S. military involvement must be protecting the vital national security interests of the United States," Cruz said.

He continued:

"The worst outcome would be to topple Assad and to see those chemical weapons fall into the hands of ISIS or al-Qaida, because if they have those chemical weapons they would use them against us," Cruz said. "I look forward to the commander-in-chief laying out a vision, presenting a plan to the American people, to Congress about how we go forward and protect our national security interests."

While Syria is an immediate issue, the House of Representatives has not publicly laid out what is next for health care. The bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was pulled after there were not enough votes to pass it.

Cruz said failure on repealing the Obama administration's health law is not an option, and he believes it will get done.

"You know, Julie, it is worth keeping in mind, it took Obama 14 months to pass Obamacare. The House bill was on the House floor for 18 days. You can't pass major legislation that impacts one-fifth of the economy in just 18 days. It takes more work than that," Cruz said.

He says he is already working with lawmakers to get them to pass a new bill. He is doing this as the campaign for his Senate seat in 2018 is officially underway. U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, has announced he is running for the seat.

"Well, listen, there is an old phrase there are two ways to run: scared and unopposed. Until I am the latter I will continue to be the former, and so I am going to continue to work every day to earn the votes, to earn the support of men and women across the state," Cruz said.

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